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Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes

October 6, 2012

Bob and I both declared Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes to be “blog-worthy”!

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It has been a while since I last shared a recipe, but I’ve been kind of busy lately. On September 22 we had a wedding in our backyard! And I did none of the cooking. We raised glasses of champagne and sparkling cider in our backyard following the ceremony and then headed to FareStart for a fabulous celebration full of great food and dancing.

We are just thrilled about Laura and Byron’s marriage, and the whole weekend was absolutely amazing! ♥

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(A huge thank you to Dana for capturing this photo!)

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I’ve done a bit of cooking in the last couple of weeks, but nothing that was “blog-worthy” until last night.

Our neighbor gave us a large acorn squash from his family’s garden. I did an Internet search to find something interesting to do with it and discovered Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes on The Bitten Word blog. The authors of the blog, Zach and Clay, found the recipe in the October 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

The original recipe uses two 1-pound squashes for 4 servings. My single squash was 2 pounds, so it made two huge stuffed squash halves. I cut each one in half for 4 servings. For a prettier presentation, I would use two smaller squashes instead of one huge one.

Bulgur wheat is used in the original recipe, but I decided to make a wheat-free version. I chose broken rice and we liked it in this dish; its texture is almost like couscous. You could really use any grain you like, although you may have to adjust the amount of water. Bulgur wheat would have required 2 cups of water; the broken rice needed only 1¼ cups of water.

Broken rice from our local Asian grocery

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I also used ground lamb instead of the original’s ground chuck and we thought the lamb was a great match with the seasonings.

On their blog post Zach and Clay summed up Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes well: “Mmmmmmmmmm”. That was our reaction, too. The seasonings were perfect, and the sweet raisins and crunchy pine nuts added just enough contrast. I thought Martha’s idea to scoop the cooked squash out of the shells and stir it into the stuffing before baking was genius! It was so much better than just piling the stuffing into the cooked squash. Whether you use bulgur or rice, beef or lamb, I think you’ll enjoy this one!

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Update 04/19/2013:  Carrie made this a while ago and told me she added some Harissa paste to hers; I thought that was a terrific idea. Last night I made it again. After stirring the squash into the lamb and rice mixture, I stirred in about a teaspoon of the Harissa paste. That was enough to add just a bit of heat and another dimension to the recipe. Delicious! :)

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Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes

(Adapted from a recipe on The Bitten Word blog, credited to Martha Stewart Living)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

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2 pounds acorn squash (preferably 2 one-pound squashes, but you can use 1 two-pound squash as I did)

2 teaspoons olive oil

½ pound ground lamb (or ¾ pound ground beef)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided (or 1.3 teaspoons table salt)

1 cup finely chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

¾ cup broken rice (or bulgur wheat)

1¼ cups water (or 2 cups for bulgur wheat)

¼ cup golden raisins

¼ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

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1. Preheat the oven to 400˚.

2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Put the squash cut-side down in a baking dish and bake until done, 35 – 40 minutes.

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3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the ground lamb with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of salt until it is done. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon, leaving the cooking liquid in the pan. Set the lamb aside.

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4. Add the onion to the pan, and cook until it is beginning to get tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.

 Garlic added to the onion

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5. Put the broken rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it well. Add the rice, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and the water to the pan. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the rice is done, about 15 minutes. Remove the covered pan from the burner and let it sit for 5 minutes.

6. Stir the lamb, raisins, parsley and pine nuts into the broken rice.

7. Scoop the scooped squash out of the shells.

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8. Break the squash up with a spoon into smaller pieces and stir it into the lamb mixture.

9. Spoon the stuffing into the squash shells and bake at 400˚ for 12 – 15 minutes, until it’s warm and slightly browned. (My large squash took 15 minutes; smaller ones may have taken less time.)

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I cut each of these in half for 4 servings.



♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2012 2:51 pm

    Oh, that looks SO GOOD! Can’t wait to try it. Congratulations to your daughter and new son-in-law. Looks like a beautiful wedding.

    • October 6, 2012 2:54 pm

      Thank you so much, Dawn!
      Do give this one a try! I think you can’t go wrong no matter what grain or meat you use. :)

  2. October 6, 2012 3:55 pm

    Hi there. This week’s Food on Friday is all about lamb! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

  3. October 6, 2012 4:52 pm

    Lovely dish. Thanks for linking it in to Food on Friday: Lamb. I have just signed up to follow you on Google Reader. A follow back to Carole’s Chatter would be wonderful – or are you already following? Cheers

  4. October 9, 2012 3:24 am

    What a beautiful wedding! You have a gorgeous yard. And I agree that your squash definitely looks blog-worthy.

  5. October 10, 2012 1:39 pm

    Most certainly blog-worthy…and what a beautiful wedding! Thank you for sharing with me. The post, the pictures, and the recipe were the perfect antidote to a long afternoon. I hope you have a great week!

  6. October 10, 2012 5:33 pm

    Thanks for leaving that comment on my blog. I really missed blogging and visiting my friends’ blogs. That squash looks delicious and the wedding like a lot of fun! Nothing like a wedding in your back yard :)

    • October 10, 2012 6:07 pm

      Thank you, Ben! We had a wonderful trip to Mexico 5 years ago that included a few days in Mexico City. Your gorgeous photos bring back a lot of memories and I was so glad to see your post today!

  7. October 21, 2012 12:59 pm

    Congrats on your daughter’s wedding! This does look like a great recipe and easy to make for a weeknight’s supper. I love the spices, raisins, and pine nuts with the lamb. Perfect.

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